Chapter 22


Tracey walks into Helene’s apartment: “Helene? Hello?” She’s still talking to herself: “I don’t think she’s here.” // “Well, let’s just wait until she arrives. Go try on some of my clothes.” // “Oooh, great idea.” Cut to: Tracey changing outfits over and over, examining herself in a full-length mirror with each look. She admires some white pants and notices a coffee stain on the leg. “Oh, damn, this one has a mark.” // “Maybe I can cut them into shorts.” // “I don’t think that will flatter you. They’re so low on the waist. Put them in the ‘discard’ pile.” Tracey removes the pants and tosses them on top of a single blouse. The other pile is easily 30 garments high. Then, Tracey notices some fragrance bottles on the vanity. “Oooh, which of these was yours? I liked that one.” She locates the scent, sprays herself, and puts the bottle in her purse as she inhales. “It smells just like you.” A single tear forms in her right eye, as she responds to herself: “Don’t cry, love. I’m right here. I’m with you.” // “I know. I just wish it could be different.” // “Different how?” // “Like, you could still be alive. As you. And we could be alone together.” // “We can still be alone together. Don’t forget that.”


It’s getting dark. Still no sign of Helene. Tracey has drawn a bath, and has helped herself to a glass of wine. “Where would we live?” she asks herself. “I dunno,” she responds. “Living here could be nice.” // “But you have all this history here.” // “That’s not so bad, is it? I am who I am because of Helene.” // “And I am who I am because of you.” // “So, you owe a lot to Helene too, right?” // “Do you love her more than me?” // “Why would you ask me that?” // “Just answer it.” // “I love her in a different way.” // “A more significant way?” // “Baby, you know you’re the most important person to me.” // “I know.” // “So, don’t be jealous of Helene.” // “I’m not jealous. I love Helene too, except… it’s because you want me to.” // “I NEED you to.” // “But why?” // “Because she’s sick. Because I feel guilty for leaving her behind to suffer. And I know you feel a little bad, also.” // “I do.” // “So, be here with Helene. And be here, with me.” Then, silence. Tracey reflects on this conversation, staring into the bubbles, at nothing really.


Tracey wraps her hair in a towel; there’s another around her body, and she rifles through the pile of clothes for something to wear. She’s got her Alina glasses on, too. We hear the front door open and close, which prompts Tracey to shove all of the clothes beneath Helene’s bed. She grabs her own underwear and quickly dresses herself. Then she realizes that Helene has not arrived alone; there’s a man with her. Tracey peeks out into the living room, and sees a 30s-something male—whom we recognize as Helene’s assistant designer, Kyle, from the wedding scene—and the two talk business. Helene is in a wheelchair next to the couch. “Models are in hair and makeup at 6 tomorrow,” Kyle says. “Photographer’s call time is 7:30, and we should wrap by noon.” “It sounds like everything is under control,” Helene responds. “Maybe I don’t need to come by?” // “We’ll have a couple reporters on set, so it might be best for you to entertain them.” // “My journo-wooing days are behind me, Kyle. Besides, you designed everything here. I think you represent the brand even better than I do. Everything we put out is your design anymore. It’s not me.” // “Everything I’ve learned is from you, so everything I do is yours.” // “I’m just saying, I think you’ll have it under control tomorrow. I’ll be late, I suspect. So don’t wait for me.” We’re back on Tracey, who is still eavesdropping from the bedroom. She doesn’t make much of this exchange.


Helene sees Kyle out. Tracey leaps onto the bed and feigns sleep, aware that Helene could enter at any second. When Helene does, she’s briefly startled at the sight of Tracey there, but it’s not entirely a shock to see her, given their history. “Oh, babe,” Helene says quietly, so as to not wake Tracey. “I didn’t know you’d be here tonight.” Tracey keeps her eyes closed, pretending to rest. Helene removes Tracey’s glasses and studies them: “Just like Alina’s,” she says. “Same brand, too.” Then she stares down at Tracey herself: “You’re like her in so many ways. Thank you for reminding me of my love.” We see a smirk growing across Tracey’s face as Helene lights a candle on the bedside table. Helene continues: “I never guessed it would come to this… especially with you here.” She then rolls her chair into the bathroom, gently latching the door. Tracey’s eyes shoot open, and she questions herself: “What did she mean ‘I never guessed it would come to this?… What’s that all about?” // “You’re being melodramatic, Alina,” she responds to herself. Alina’s half of Tracey begs Tracey’s half to intervene: “Melodrama is in her nature. Go knock on the door!”


“Helene! Helene! Hi! I just woke up. How are you?” Tracey pounds on the bathroom door, trying not to be too aggressive, but letting her nerves get away from her. “Helene, let me in! I want to see you, baby!” We hear rifling on the other side of the door: Drawers open and close, Helene clears her throat, and something else—is that a plastic pill bottle being unscrewed?—followed by a crashing sound of dozens of pills hitting the floor, and Helene saying “God dammit!” as they spill. “Helene! Helene! Let me in!” More pounding on the door, but it’s locked. Then, Alina speaks (through Tracey, and TO Tracey): “Kick it in, Tracey. Kick it in, baby! KICK IT!” And then Tracey takes a step back and kicks, with all her strength, against the door, which breaks mercilessly at the lock and swings open. There, Helene is sitting on the floor beside her wheelchair, collecting the painkillers in her hand—and ready to swallow them. She holds a glass of red wine in the other hand, and stares blankly at Tracey as they both freeze.

Head to to read Prospectives author Adam Hurly’s interview about defining success, sustaining creative habits, and how this serial has been integral in his career as a writer. Then, sign up for updates from Kyō, which will soon launch its creative journaling platform (designed to help you build your own creative process). 

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